What to Put on a Resume in 2024 (Examples + Tips)

Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW
By Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: January 13, 2024

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When it comes to job hunting, your resume is your most important marketing tool. It’s the first impression you make on potential employers, and it can determine whether or not you secure an interview.

But what do you need to put on a resume to make it stand out from the competition? Resume best practices are constantly in flux, which can make it tricky to figure out exactly what to include on your resume (and what to leave out). 

We’ll discuss the key elements that should be included in every resume. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, we have the tips and examples you need to write a resume that gets noticed by employers.

What to put on a professional resume

Depending on your circumstances and the job you are applying for, there may be variations in your resume format, however, all resumes include a few key sections. We’ll discuss the nuances of each section below to help you get started. Take a look at the image below for a snapshot of what to put on a work resume.

What To Put On A Resume 1

Including these sections on your resume ensures that employers get a comprehensive overview of your skills, experiences and qualifications. We’ll discuss the nuances of each section below to help you get started. 

Header and contact information

Including up-to-date contact information on your resume ensures that potential employers can reach you to schedule a job interview.  

Add your contact information to your resume header using an easy-to-read font such as Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman. 

Include your name, email, city, state, ZIP code and a link to your professional portfolio or networking profile. Take a look at the example below:

Mariah Howe

555-555-5555 | mhowe@email.com | Orlando, FL 32866 | example@example.com

We recommend exploring our library of 800+ resume examples to see a wide variety of design options for displaying your contact details in the header of your resume.

Resume summary

A resume summary is a brief statement that highlights your key qualifications, skills and experience. 

Starting your resume off with a professional summary is a great way to grab the hiring manager’s attention by providing a snapshot of your top skills and qualifications. 

A well-crafted resume summary should be concise, specific and tailored to the job you are applying for. Here’s an example of what to put in a summary on a resume: 

“Skilled sales manager with eight years of experience in driving revenue growth, managing sales teams and developing successful sales strategies. Proven track record of exceeding sales targets, building strong client relationships and leading high-performing teams. Skilled in sales coaching, pipeline management and market analysis.”

In some cases, you might decide to use a resume objective instead of a resume summary. Here are some situations where you might use a resume objective:

  • You are transitioning into a new field 
  • You are a student or recent graduate 
  • You are applying for an entry-level position 
  • You have extensive gaps in your career history 

Take a look at 100+ resume objective examples for additional guidance and inspiration. 

Work experience

Including a well-crafted and tailored work experience section is essential for demonstrating your career progression and highlighting your qualifications. 

Employers often use work history to assess your suitability for the job and to determine whether you have the necessary skills and experience to succeed in the role. Here’s an example of what to include in a work history entry: 

Marketing Coordinator

ABC Company, New York, NY

Jan. 2018 – Present

  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to develop and execute marketing campaigns that increase brand awareness and drive leads.
  • Manage social media accounts, creating engaging content and growing the company’s online presence.
  • Conduct market research and analyze data to identify trends and opportunities for growth.

If you are listing a job at a lesser-known company, you can add a one-sentence description directly underneath the company name describing what it does. This can help give employers a better understanding of your professional background.

Skills

By including a strong skills section on your resume, you can demonstrate that you have the qualifications needed to excel in the role. 

Remember to tailor your skills section to the job description and highlight the skills that are most important to the employer. 

Your skills section should include a mix of hard skills and soft skills. Here’s an example of a skills section for a marketing professional:

Skills

  • Email marketing
  • Project planning 
  • A/B testing 
  • Marketing automation 
  • Budgeting 
  • Stakeholder management 
  • Google Analytics

You might choose to put more emphasis on your technical skills or on your interpersonal skills, depending on your field and the job description at hand.

Education

The education section of your resume should include information about your academic background, such as your degree, minor and any relevant coursework or training. 

Include the name and location of the school or institution and the degree or program you completed. It is not necessary to include your graduation year, however, you can do so if you graduated in the past three years. 

List your educational experiences in reverse chronological order, with your most recent degree or program listed first. Here’s an example of what to put in the education section of your resume:  

Education

University of California, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA 

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Marketing

Relevant coursework: Principles of Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Advertising and Promotion

Honors: Dean’s List (Fall 2018, Winter 2020, Spring 2021)

If you are currently pursuing a degree or program, you can list your expected graduation date instead of the actual date of completion.

Optional resume sections

In addition to your work experience, education and skills, you can also consider including optional sections on your resume to further showcase your qualifications and enhance your candidacy. 

Certificates and licenses

You might consider including a section on job-relevant certifications or licenses you have received. Here’s an example of how to put certifications on a resume:

Certifications

  • Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Institute, 2020
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA), State Board of Accountancy, 2019

Here are some additional tips on how to list certifications and licenses on your resume:

  • List them in reverse-chronological order: List your certifications and licenses in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent.
  • Include the name and organization: For each certification or license, include the name of the certification or license and the organization that granted it. 
  • Mention the date of certification: Include the date you obtained each certification or license. 

Volunteer experience

Including volunteer experience on your resume can demonstrate your commitment to causes you care about and show potential employers that you are a well-rounded candidate with a variety of experiences.

Create a separate section for relevant volunteer experience rather than listing it in your work history section. Here’s an example:

Volunteer Experience 

Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer Builder

June 2019 – Present

  • Assisted with the construction of new homes for low-income families
  • Worked with a team of volunteers to complete tasks such as framing, roofing and installing windows
  • Participated in safety training and enforced safety procedures on the job site

Remember to include the name of the organization, your role and the dates of your involvement. Highlight any skills you developed or demonstrated, such as leadership, teamwork or communication. 

Language proficiencies

Adding language proficiencies on your resume can be a valuable asset, especially if the job requires communication with people who speak a different language. 

When listing language proficiencies, it’s important to be honest about your skill level and to use terms like “beginner,” “intermediate,” “advanced” or “fluent” to describe your level of proficiency. Here’s an example of how to list languages on your resume: 

Languages

  • English — Fluent
  • French — Intermediate 
  • Spanish — Advanced

Additionally, if you have any experience using the language in a professional setting, such as translation or interpretation, be sure to include that as well. 

Awards and honors

By including awards and honors on your resume, you can demonstrate your achievements and highlight your strengths to potential employers. Here is an example for inspiration: 

Awards

  • Best Salesperson of the Year, XYZ Corporation, 2019
  • Outstanding Volunteer Award, ABC Community Center, 2018
  • Best Paper Award, National Conference on XYZ Studies, 2016

Examples of awards and honors that you might include in this section of your resume include academic honors, professional awards, industry certifications, scholarships, fellowships and community service awards. 

Hobbies and interests

The right hobbies on your resume can add depth to your work experience, help highlight your job-relevant skills and show employers how you might fit into the organization’s culture. Here’s an example:

Interests

  • Photography: Developed an eye for detail and composition through capturing moments in nature and urban environments.
  • Volunteer Work: Actively involved in community service projects, demonstrating dedication and commitment to making a positive impact.
  • Cooking: Passionate about experimenting with new recipes and flavors, fostering creativity and problem-solving skills in the kitchen.

 

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What not to put on a resume 

There are certain things that should not be included on your resume. In order to help you avoid common mistakes, we have compiled a list of things that you should avoid putting on your resume. 

  • Personal information beyond your name, phone number, email address and location. This includes things like your home address, social security number and date of birth.
  • Unprofessional email addresses or usernames. Make sure your email address is appropriate and professional.
  • Shortened or nicknames for your name. Use your full name or the name you go by professionally. 
  • Professional references. Provide professional references later in the hiring process, after the hiring manager has reviewed your application and conducted interviews.
  • Multiple phone numbers or email addresses. Stick to one phone number and one email address that you check regularly and are professional.
  • Social media handles or links to personal websites unless they are relevant to the job you are applying for.

By avoiding these pitfalls, you can ensure that your resume is professional, relevant and effective in helping you land the job you want. For additional guidance, take a look at the resume examples below.

Examples of what to put on student resumes

Explore the professionally made resume examples below for ideas of what to put on a resume throughout the various stages of your educational journey. 

What to put on a resume as a high school student

As a high school student, your resume should highlight relevant school projects and any work experience that you may have. 

This resume uses the functional format — a great option for high school students since it focuses on skills rather than work experience. 

For additional guidance, see our tips for writing a high school resume for a college application.

High School Student Resume Example

 

What to put on a resume as a college student

This example resume for a college student focuses on a blend of work experience and academic achievements. See our Harvard resume guide for more tips and tricks from career experts. 

It also uses a resume objective rather than a resume summary, which allows the college student to detail their career goals and the transferable skills they fostered at school.

College Student Resume Example

What to put on a resume for an internship

Are you a high school or college student applying for an internship? Take a look at this internship resume example, which focuses on skills and qualifications rather than work experience.

In this example, you’ll notice that the work history section details the candidate’s previous internships to exemplify their relevant experience. 

Internship Resume Example

Examples of what to put on a professional resume

Check out the professional resume examples below for ideas of what to include on your resume. See what should a resume look like for additional guidance from career advice experts. 

What to put on a resume for a cashier position

This example resume for a cashier effectively details prior work experience and relevant skills such as cash handling, leadership and customer service.

The work history section demonstrates the candidate’s career progression into a leadership role. Each role includes clear bullet points about the candidate’s responsibilities and achievements.

Cashier Resume Example

What to put on a resume for a sales associate position

An effective sales associate resume should include relevant work experience and measurable achievements. In this example resume, you’ll notice the candidate’s accomplishments are quantified with numbers and figures where relevant. 

Additionally, the professional summary at the top of the resume effectively showcases the candidate’s key sales skills, such as maximizing profits and managing sales staff. 

Sales Associate Resume Example

What to put on a teacher resume

This example teaching resume includes an effective professional summary that highlights the candidate’s commitment to fostering a positive learning environment for students. 

The work history section includes relevant and compelling accomplishments, and the certifications section lists the candidate’s teaching license (an essential component of any teacher resume). 

Teacher Resume Example 1

What to put on a resume key takeaways

  1. Include up-to-date contact information on your resume, including your name, email address and phone number.
  2. Add a compelling summary or objective statement to grab the attention of the hiring manager.
  3. Use strong action words, measurable achievements and keywords from the job description when describing your work experience.
  4. Include a mix of hard skills and soft skills on your resume, and tailor your skills section to the job you are applying for.
  5. Ensure that any educational accomplishments, certifications and volunteer work you include on your resume are relevant to the job you are applying for.
  6. Do not put unnecessary personal information, unprofessional language or irrelevant information on your resume.

What to put on a job resume FAQ

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